"Though she be but little, she is fierce!" - William Shakespeare
As the youngest of nine kids, and the only one with cystic fibrosis, my childhood was far from normal. I recall hot summers when I stayed indoors and cool while everyone else was off at summer camp. Despite the obvious differences, my family always made me feel loved, at ease, and downplayed the seriousness of my disease. My mom made a decided effort to keep me from seeing all of the negative information that is available online. But, in spite of her efforts to protect me, I did lose an “online” friend who had CF when I was younger which caused me to struggle with depression through high school.
Today, I keep an extremely strict routine – staying medically compliant and making sure I get plenty of rest. I am on four aerosol medications, as well as the typical handful of pills. In addition to my prescribed medication, I also maintain a healthy, well-balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruit and veggies. I am a runner an enjoy getting out for a few miles in the morning as a way to start the new day. I am training for my first half marathon and am so excited for the experience. I don’t care how long it takes – I am finishing that race!
I am pretty open about my disease – all my friends have at least a basic knowledge of it. I keep some of my treatments and other regimens private, but like to share enough to raise awareness. Although I share some of my experiences, I do find the psychological aspect of CF to be the most challenging – which is why I study psychology.
My life has a purpose, and every day in reveals itself just a little bit more. My motivation to stay healthy is all around me: my family, my job, my education – everything really. My nine-year-old nephew, the only person in my immediate family who also has CF, motivates me to stay positive and set a good example. As cliché as it sounds, every single day I wake up is my best day. I get up and have the ability to be proactive, a luxury that is denied to many; one I never take for granted.
My hobbies are… being a ‘nerd.’ I love to read, study, and attend conferences on psychology and child development.
I love to… hang out with my family.
One day, I hope to start a summer camp for people with chronic illnesses.
Color – orange
Food – sushi
Holiday- 4th of July
Movie – Pocahontas
Musical artist – Led Zepplin
If I could go anywhere in the world, I would go back to Germany.
My nickname is ‘La La’ – something my brother called me when I was a baby.
My friends and family would describe me as – determined.
My role models are… my mother, of course. But also a high school teacher who had CF. He has a double lung transplant and was one of the most postitive people I know.
If I could give someone recently diagnosed advice, it would be… Take your doctor’s advice into consideration, but always make sure you do your own research and education yourself.